Fritz von der Schulenburg
Rizzoli International Publications, New York, 2013, English
Nonfiction, Interior Design
10.25 x 11 inches, hardcover, 320 pages, 302 color photographs
ISBN: 9780847839506
Suggested Retail Price: $60.00

From the Publisher. Minimalism has a richness, texture, and creativity that continues to inspire designers to create a wide range of looks, from minimalist luxury to luxurious minimalism. From rough luxe to stripped down modernist formality to an almost empire-style minimalism, this collection of beautiful photographs showcases breathtaking interiors from around the world that combine a sense of grandeur and drama shaped and inflected by minimalism.

Cover of Luxurious Minimalism, 2013 (Rizzoli International Publications)

Whatever the location, period, or architectural style, all the rooms featured here share a sense of proportion, balance, and minimalist elegance. The range of interiors and properties include a New York penthouse where the minimalist interiors highlight incredible views; a Colorado lodge in a dramatic mountain setting; a Loire Valley château; a traditional country house in Litchfield; a Fire Island beach house; a recently renovated baroque palace in Sweden; private estates in California and Vermont, and much more. Nine special sections feature statements from specially conducted interviews with the world’s most celebrated interior designers. Complete with an address book of useful contact details, this is an inspiring volume that celebrates the enormous range of possibilities of minimalism in the grand style.

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Norman Weinstein

This bravura coffee table book of impeccably photographed international interiors offers bountiful rewards—once you get past the terrifically ambiguous title. Didn’t Thoreau find his Walden pond cabin luxurious and elegant? And what about Zen monks aesthetically sizing up their caves? This is not coyness. No rigorously thoroughgoing definition of interior minimalism (we’re told minimalism is “about light and space”—what isn’t?) is offered. Is it waggish to suggest that what we have here is a portfolio of expensive elegant minimalism? So the book showcases a recently renovated Swedish baroque palace, a Colorado ski lodge, a Loire Valley chateau, and a variety of private estates on both U.S. coasts. The photography is the stuff of dreams, suggesting furniture too fine for even well-behaved children to sit upon; great textured white walls no fingerprints will besmirch. Museum-grade interiors abound, perhaps explaining the curiously provocative Brancusi quote concluding the book, “Architecture is inhabited sculpture.” And to be fair, some traditional Shaker interiors intelligently revealing the paradoxically materially poor roots of today’s pricy minimalism are displayed.

Economic factors aside, the deep joy of this book arises from nine astute interviews with the showcased interior designers. Robert Kime cogently discusses his interior designing as textile-inspired. The Palladian roots of designs by Axel and Boris Vervoordt are thoughtfully illuminated. And John Stefanidis declares with winning candor, “Aestheticism can be the enemy of creation.” All interior designers can glean ideas, particularly pertaining to fiercely colored doors, floors, and stairs counterpointing Apollonian white walls, from this lushly expansive survey.

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